27th March, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reversal of tenure elongation of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other National and State Executive Officers of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He described the elongation of their tenure by one year as unconstitutional.
He told the National Executive Committee meeting of the party in Abuja on Tuesday that he had reflected on the elongation and also sought advice and had come to the conclusion that it is unconstitutional.
The APC had in its NEC meeting on February 27 extended the tenure of members of National Working Committee (NWC) led by John Odigie-Oyegun by one year.
“This motion was duly carried by a majority of members present at the last NEC Meeting, even though some of our party members have since spoken up very vehemently against it. Others have even taken the matter to court.
“I have taken some time to review and seek advice on the resolution. And what I found is that it contravenes both our party Constitution and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“While the APC Constitution, in Article 17(1) and 13.2(B), limits the tenure of elected officers to four years, renewable once by another election, the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), in section 223, also prescribes periodic elections for party executives at regular intervals, which must not exceed four years.
“Furthermore, Article 31 of our Party Constitution provides that any principal officer wishing to re-contest or contest for another post, must resign from his current post at least one month before the election
Buhari said he was optimistic that the on-going meeting would provide an avenue to resolve the outstanding issues and consolidate plans towards making APC stronger.
Buhari explained, however, that it was expected that a fresh elections be conducted once the tenure of the current executives approaches its end.
“A Caretaker Committee cannot remedy this situation, and cannot validly act in place of elected officers.
“Furthermore, I think if we deviate from the constitutional provisions, we might be endangering the fortunes of our party. If the tenure of our party executives can be legally faulted, then it means that any nominations and primary elections that they may conduct, can also be faulted.
“This is not to talk of divisions that would arise, and is already arising within the party, when some of our members feel that they are being denied the right to aspire to executive positions, or that internal democracy is not at play within the party.
“I am therefore of the firm view that it is better to follow strictly the dictates of our party and national constitutions, rather than put APC and its activities at grave risk.’’
He said that a timetable had already been approved for the holding of congresses and elections.
“I think these should be allowed to go forward and all efforts should now be geared towards making them a great success.’’